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OTL: Guerdwich Montimere, the kid who wasn't there

Updated: May 3, 2012, 12:46 PM ET
By Wright Thompson

I arrive in Odessa, Texas, flying low over black pump jacks, chasing the sort of weird, true crime story that often gets reporters on airplanes: A 16-year-old named Jerry Joseph, a basketball player at Permian High School of "Friday Night Lights" fame, has been found out as an impostor. Joseph isn't really a Haitian orphan, and the tales he has spun for an eager town are lies; he's really a 22-year-old from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., named Guerdwich Montimere. I check into a hotel on the outskirts of town and begin to search.

Eighteen months will pass. A year and a half of lies and mysteries and brain twisters about the fragility of identity, both to the person whose identity is in question and to those observing that person. A year and a half searching for a man named Guerdwich, and, at the end, not being sure whether he ever existed at all. But that's for later.

In the beginning, there is an impostor.

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